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Volume 469, Page 46   View pdf image (33K)
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In the election of November 8, 1966, the electorate of Maryland
voted for the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution to abolish
the Land Office (Ch. 489, Acts 1966). Thereupon an Act providing
for the takeover of the functions and records of that office by the Hall
of Records Commission (Ch. 488, Acts of 1966), took effect.

More legislation was required to implement the Act and Mr. John
W. Sause, Assistant Attorney General, was given the assignment. It
was an extremely difficult task but at the end the Hall of Records was
moved out of Article 41 of the Code and combined with the Land
Office Article 17 into Article 54. Many changes were made in the
procedure: all types of warrants except Special Warrants, were
abolished; strict time limits were put on each step of the granting of a
patent, and the amount of composition money which before had been
a matter of individual judgment on the part of the Land Commissioner,
was turned over to the Supervisor of Assessments of the county in
which the alleged vacant land was located, who placed a fair market
value on it (Ch. 355, Acts 1967). To assist in caveat hearings, an
Assistant Attorney General was assigned; Mr. Sause was succeeded by
Mr. Carville Downs, who in turn was replaced by Mr. Richard Rice,
who was present at all hearings.

All of the records of land grants in Maryland, formerly in the
Land Office, were moved to the Hall of Records, also the records of
the Chancery Court and other miscellaneous records. The Abstracts of
Deeds which were deposited with the Land Commissioner from 1783
to 1949, were deposited in the Library of the University of Maryland,
the microfilm of the original instruments and the records in the counties
remained at the Hall of Records, and the microfilm of instruments
since that date are still held in the former quarters of the Land Office as
are the plats of subdivisions from most of the counties and the papers
having to do with municipal annexations. These records are being
arranged and indexed by the Records Management Division in whose
immediate custody they are.

The staff of the Land Office numbered six. On the retirement of
the last Commissioner, the position was allowed to lapse. Mr. Malcolm
Waring, Administrative Assistant, died and his position was not filled
until the office was taken over by the Hall of Records. This position is
now assigned to Program I. Mrs. Crockett, a Land Records Researcher,
was assigned to Program II. Her duties are now to service the former


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